A GARDA operation targeting drug gangs in west Dublin has resulted in the arrest of 37 people.
Those arrested were suspected street dealers involved with family-run gangs based in the Neilstown, Ronanstown and Ballyfermot areas.
Gardaí believe their surveillance activities have broken up two criminal gangs which have been major distributors of drugs throughout the city of Dublin for years.
Undercover gardaí, posing as drug addicts, bought drugs from dealers in places such as the Neilstown Road in Neilstown and Le Fanu Park in Ballyfermot, where they are commonly sold.
In many cases officers returned several times, gaining the confidence of suspects and gathering mobile phone numbers before making the arrests.
Codenamed Operation Reagent, it involved a co-ordinated response between local gardaí from the Dublin metropolitan west division and the Garda National Drug Unit.
The operation began at the start of the year.
The drugs involved included heroin and crack cocaine, and the Garda operation was in response to the increased availability of these Class A substances on the streets in recent months.
Quantities of heroin were recovered in the last few days along with €4,000 worth of crack cocaine from a house in Ballyfermot. Gardaí also seized small quantities of cannabis.
The mass arrests began on August 10th in the west Dublin area. In the space of two days, 37 suspected drug dealers, 36 men and one woman, were arrested and charged. They range in age from 21 to 48.
Most were questioned about offences relating to the supply of illegal drugs. In total more than 60 charges were brought against those involved.
Twenty-six will appear at Blanchardstown District Court on September 2nd, 10 will appear at the Criminal Courts of Justice on September 6th, and a last suspect will be brought before Blanchardstown District Court on September 8th.
As part of their investigations, the organised crime unit, backed up by the national drug unit, searched the basement of a new apartment block on St George’s Quay, Dublin, and found a cocaine-mixing factory yesterday afternoon.
The search came shortly after officers stopped a car at Cornmarket Place in Dublin city centre at about 12.45pm yesterday and recovered drugs with an estimated street value of €400,000.
A 42-year-old man was arrested and is being detained at Pearse Street Garda station under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice (Drug Trafficking Act) 1996.
A Garda spokesman said the arrests were part of the National Drugs Strategy.